Making Learning Real with Problem-Based Case Learning

Course Business Matching and Framing


Finding a business partner is a critical part of the PBCL process that will be a win-win situation for both the class and the business.

Before continuing to the next section, review the content on the following link. It will introduce information on Creating a Business Partnership on the Making Learning Real web site.

What have we learned?

The video on Creating a Business Partnership explained how connecting with a business partner who has a real time unsolved problematic issue effectively shifts the perspective from the classroom and textbook to the workplace and professional practice.

The Problem-Based Case Learning (PBCL) Cycle guides students through the learning process of:

  1. working in teams to grapple with the problematic situation,
  2. identifying and analyzing the problem,
  3. conducting investigations in the field;
  4. gathering relevant resources;
  5. testing possible solutions and revisiting stages of the cycle as appropriate;
  6. providing evidence of learning, and
  7. receiving feedback and evaluation.

The PBCL cycle path guides students back through the process for revisions and further investigations.

HOWEVER, by starting with an authentic situation students are naturally engaged in a learning process that focuses on relationship,relevancy, and rigor.

PBCL process begins with Course/Business Matching and Framing.


  1. Cultivate relationship with businesses through advisory board meetings, local chambers, tech councils, adjuncts, etc.
  2. Once relationship is built, request a problematic situation they can contribute.
  3. Use some question prompts to tease out the problematic situation.
  4. Work with the partner to frame the issue refer to PBCL Cycle above.

SBA Office of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

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Business Partner 
The key to PBCL is finding the right business partner that is a win-win situation for both the instructor and the business.

Most problems that work are not mission critical problems but problems that in the middle tier that would be beneficial to be solved by the business and would work in the classroom.

The first part of the PBCL process is course/business matching and that requires finding and cultivating a relationship with a business partner.

The next step is framing is to find the right balance for the class and the business to work on for a single semester. Usually, problematic situations are worked on in a single semester.